The Deputy Minister of Defence
Details are beginning to emerge that, the Deputy Minister of Defence in the Akufo-Addo government, Major (Rtd) Derrick Oduro, was thick in the affairs of the controversial airbus transaction, and might have been one of those bribed by the company if indeed, money exchanged hands before the deal on the two aircrafts was sealed.
Also emerging, is the name of Lawyer William Ofori Boafo, former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Akropong in the Eastern Region. He was also part of the negotiations at the level of Parliament.
Both Lawyer Boafo and Major Oduro, who doubles as the MP for Nkoranza North, fully supported and defended the transaction, including making a trip to Spain to see the aircrafts in their capacities as members of the Defense and Interior Committee of Parliament.
The trip, The Herald learnt, was also to compare the CASA planes from Airbus to two C27 J aircrafts from Alenia, which was priced above $40 million per unit, and was considered high.
Lawyer Boafo, who has since left Parliament, at the time of the transaction and the Spain trip, was the Ranking Member of the Defense and Interior Committee of Parliament, therefore, made significant input on the transaction, The Herald learnt.
It is not clear, why his voice and that of the Deputy Defense Minister, have been missing in the public discourse on the Airbus Scandal.
It is also not clear, whether they received any money by way of bribe from the individuals being chased by the government through the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who has since caused an INTERPOL warrant to be issued for the arrest of four individuals, including Samuel Mahama, said to be a younger brother of ex-President John Dramani Mahama.
But interestingly, it is also coming out that Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, is investigating a transaction, he had okayed in 2011 in his capacity as the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General in the John Evans Atta-Mills administration.
The deal is said to have traversed three Defense Ministers namely; Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith, Mark Woyongo and Dr. Benjamin Kumbour.
Each of these men, are believed to be holding vital information to settle the controversy generated by the case. It is not clear why they, especially Lt. Gen. Smith, have all kept silent over the matter.
These interesting revelations are coming out amid reports that Mr Amidu, has spent days at the Ministry of Defense, combing through volumes of documents on the transaction and carting many away in his quest to nail the supposed bribe givers namely; Samuel Adam Mahama, Philip Sean Middlemiss, Leanne Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux in the Airbus bribery case.
Mr Amidu, who now serves in the Akufo-Addo’s government, is said to perused the transaction after it was sent to him as government’s legal advisor on such matters.
It is also emerging that, the negotiations and purchase of the aircrafts was conducted by a very competent team at the Military Headquarters with some of the officers who served on the technical team still in active military service.
Indeed, there are report that the current Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshall Frank Hanson, was part of negotiations and some of the trips to Spain to inspect the aircrafts, and can be of enormous help to the investigation, but it is not clear, if he had been called and interrogated by the Office of Special Prosecutor on his role.
The purpose of the purchase of the aircraft, The Herald learnt was because Ghana’s security services, especially the military required retooling.
While the Police Service, had an ageing fleet of Peugeot and Mahindra vehicles, the Ghana Navy, had no vessel with which to patrol Ghana’s coastal waters and the Ghana Air Force, had only one functional 37-year old F27 aircraft, which was still flying.
Again, while the Infantry Brigade of the Ghana Army, relied on old Dongfeng trucks and a fleet of smoking pick-up vehicles, the Prisons Service, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the National Security Council Secretariat, were virtually immobile due to lack of equipment.
In this regard, a plan to re-equip the state security institutions was submitted to, and approved by President Mills.
It was revealed that at the time, John Mahama took office as Vice President in 2009, the military were already considering the acquisition of two C27 J aircraft, but the quoted price, was above $40 million per unit, and was considered high.
Eventually the military settled on two C295 aircrafts at a cost of about $24 million each, bringing the cost for the two aircraft to about $48 million.
The price of the aircrafts was competitive relative to the prevailing market price, The Herald learnt from the persons familiar with the deal.
All the processes and negotiations by government in the acquisition of the aircraft were conducted directly with Airbus and government without any untoward influence either directly or indirectly from agents it may have appointed.
The said aircrafts were purchased for the military when Mr. Mahama was the Vice President and Chairman of both the Armed Forces Council and the Police Council.Mr. Mahama was Vice President between January 7th, 2009 and July 24th, 2012, and he was assigned responsibility for the Armed Forces Council and the Police Council by the then President John Evans Atta Mills, who retained the Chairmanship of the National Security Council.
Major (Rtd) Derrick Oduro is the current Deputy Defense Minister in President Akufo-Addo led government.